Marc K. Siegel MD

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Inner Pulse Swine Flu Bird Flu False Alarm Bellevue

Fast, funny, and terrifying true-to-life -- an astonishing tour de force.

This darkly comic novel about three interns coming of age in the chaotic hell of a big-city hospital. In vast, disintegrating "Bellevue" Hospital in New York City, David Levy hopes to avoid being molded into the same kind of doctor as his supervisor, Fat Goldman -- symbol of all that is insane and uncaring about the medical establishment. Nor does he want to become like his best friend, the rebellious Sal Vertino. Although a star in medical school, Sal's career may not survive his own doubts -- or his besotted pursuit of third-year student Delia Meducci, a smoldering beauty as ambitious and unscrupulous as she is sexy.

Through Levy's exhausted eyes, we experience the hellish pressure of "Bellevue"-style medicine -- where interns test their vocation by means of sleepless 72-hour shifts, and where denying one's own feelings and humanity is the only way to survive. With hallucinatory scenes and sharply comic dialogue, "Bellevue" introduces a terrific cast of wild characters, including Rulo, the odd, wheelchair-roaming patient/philosopher; Lacombe, who is afflicted with every malady known to medicine; and Mrs. Ryan, who is mysteriously resuscitated -- though nobody knows why. A portrait of medicine as Dante's Inferno, "Bellevue" is an outrageously funny and strangely moving novel that reveals as much about doctors and the medical system as Catch-22 did about war.